About the Museum


Interior View, Rijksmuseum
Interior View, Rijksmuseum
Photo: Erik Smits

Interior View, Rijksmuseum

Interior View, Rijksmuseum
Exterior View, Rijksmuseum
Photo: John Lewis Marshall

Exterior View, Rijksmuseum

Interior View, Rijksmuseum
Photo: Erik Smits

Interior View, Rijksmuseum

Interior View, Rijksmuseum
Interior View, Rijksmuseum
Photo: Erik Smits

Interior View, Rijksmuseum

Interior View, Rijksmuseum

One of the world’s most important collections, the Rijksmuseum boasts over 8,000 artworks that span 800 years of Dutch history. Alongside famous works such as Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch, this encyclopaedic museum holds an extensive collection of Asian art, European decorative arts and innumerable objects of curiosity. Visited by over two million art lovers and tourists every year, the original Dutch National Museum was founded in The Hague in 1800 before moving to Amsterdam in 1808. The main building was originally designed by Pierre Cuypers and renovated by the Cruz y Ortiz architectural studio in 2013.

(Photo: John Lewis Marshall)

Collection Highlights


Jan Asselijn

The Threatened Swan

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Self Portrait as the Apostle Paul

Vincent van Gogh

Self-portrait

Johannes Vermeer

The Milkmaid

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël

A windmill on a polder waterway, known as 'In the Month of July'
Rijksmuseum: Collection Highlights

Jan Asselijn

The Threatened Swan, c.1650
oil on canvas , 144 x 171 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
A swan fiercely defends its nest against a dog. In later centuries this scuffle was interpreted as a political allegory: the white swan was thought to symbolize the Dutch statesman Johan de Witt (assassinated in 1672) protecting the country from its enemies. This was the meaning attached to the painting when it became the very first acquisition to enter the Nationale Kunstgalerij (the forerunner of the Rijksmuseum) in 1800.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Self Portrait as the Apostle Paul, c.1628
oil on canvas , 91 x 77 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt, the Stichting tot Bevordering van de Belangen van het Rijksmuseum and the ministerie van CRM
This is Rembrandt’s first and only self portrait in the guise of a biblical figure. The manuscript and the sword projecting from his cloak are Paul’s traditional attributes. Like the other apostles Rembrandt painted in the same period, Paul too is a real, everyday person. By using his own likeness here Rembrandt encourages a direct bond with the saint.

Vincent van Gogh

Self-portrait, 1887
, 42 × 34 × 8 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Gift of F.W.M., Baroness Bonger-van der Borch van Verwolde, Almen
Vincent moved to Paris in 1886, after hearing from his brother Theo about the new, colourful style of French painting. Wasting no time, he tried it out in several self-portraits. He did this mostly to avoid having to pay for a model. Using rhythmic brushstrokes in striking colours, he portrayed himself here as a fashionably dressed Parisian.

Johannes Vermeer

The Milkmaid, c.1660
oil on canvas, 45.5 × 41 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt
A maidservant pours milk, entirely absorbed in her work. Except for the stream of milk, everything else is still. Vermeer took this simple everyday activity and made it the subject of an impressive painting – the woman stands like a statue in the brightly lit room. Vermeer also had an eye for how light by means of hundreds of colourful dots plays over the surface of objects.

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël

A windmill on a polder waterway, known as 'In the Month of July', c. 1889
oil on canvas, 102 × 66 ×14 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
‘Our country is saturated with colour. ...I repeat, our country is not grey, not even in grey weather, nor are the dunes grey,’ wrote Constant Gabriël in a letter. Unlike many Hague School painters, he actually enjoyed depicting a beautiful summer day. There are even two of them in this painting: the image of the grass, sky and mill, and their reflection in the water.
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